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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, April 23, 2024
'Election Fraud, Pure and Simple': 'BradCast' 4/23/24
Trump NY criminal trial update; Also: SCOTUS nixes Lake's 2022 fraud claims; WI U.S. Senate candidate 'doesn't oppose' elderly voters; Trump/RNC's 'election integrity' plan; AZ GOP Rep's apparent petition fraud...
'Green News Report' 4/23/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Europe's record rate of warming; Plastic manufacturing's effect on global warming; Biden unveils American Climate Corps, Solar For All, and a slew of new actions on conservation...
Previous GNRs: 4/18/24 - 4/16/24 - Archives...
'First Domino Falls' in UAW Effort to Unionize the South: 'BradCast' 4/22/24
Guest: Labor journo Steven Greenhouse; Also: House passes Ukraine aid; Prosecutors accuse Trump of 2016 'election fraud' in NY trial...
Sunday 'Popcorn Ready' Toons
THIS WEEK: Stormy outlook ... Abortion wrongs ... American values ... Earth Day ... And much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
Bad Climate News for Home, Car Owners; Good Labor News for Workers in the South: 'BradCast' 4/18/24
Also: Jury seated in NY; NV okays abortion initiative; OH Repubs block Biden from ballot...
'Green News Report' 4/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deluge in Dubai; Climate impacts to cost trillions per year; New lightbulb efficiency standards; PLUS: Biden Admin cracks down on toxic silica dust to protect workers' lungs...
Previous GNRs: 4/16/24 - 4/11/24 - Archives...
SCOTUS Suddenly Worried About Overcriminalization ... for J6 Insurrectionists: 'BradCast' 4/17/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: GOP impeachment ends; Turnout doubles in AL...
'Trump Media' Plummeting, MAGA Buyers Losing Life Savings: 'BradCast' 4/16/24
Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity'; 7 jurors seated in NY criminal trial; Repubs deliver impeachment to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
'Green News Report' 4/16/24
Record ocean heat bleaching corals worldwide; EV charging roads in Indiana; Biden raising drilling, mining royalties for first time in a century; PLUS: A marine mystery in Florida...
Trump's First Criminal Trial, for Cheating in 2016, Begins in NY: 'BradCast' 4/15/24
Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
Sunday 'Party Like It's 1864' Toons
THIS WEEK: Bad politics, good toonery and at least one wake-up call, in our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/4/2024 10:31am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: U.N. officials warn of looming hunger crisis across Southern Africa amid deepening drought; Biden Administration invests billions to innovate and decarbonize manufacturing; Melting polar ice is changing Earth's rotation; PLUS: America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm is now operational... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Just 57 companies churn out 80% of post-Paris emissions; Warming is getting worse, so scientists just tested a way to deflect the sun; US saw staggering growth in solar and wind power over the last decade; Will Bitcoin, data centers and cannabis risk US climate goals?; Spinning, whirling fish in FL prompt emergency response; US aims to 'crack the code' on deploying geothermal energy at scale; Cranes return to Ukraine: birds of joy in a war-torn land... PLUS: A guide to electric car disinformation... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast', as Haley vows to continue; Furious Trump issues vague threats; Biden wins via Dem Write-In vote; Jon Stewart to return to 'Daily Show'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2024 5:27pm PT  

I fear we are still far from peak madness, even if it feels like we're getting dangerously close on today's BradCast, with our Special Coverage analysis of New Hampshire's First-in-the-Nation Primary results and whatever the hell may be happening next. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Donald Trump defeated Nikki Haley on Tuesday in NH, though only by 11 points, the same number by which he defeated his GOP challengers in last week's Iowa Caucuses, according to the latest reported results. Once again, he received just over half of the votes cast by those who participated in the Republican contest. Trump's tally is currently just over 54%, Haley's is just over 43%.

On the Democratic side, where Joe Biden's name didn't even appear on the ballot, as the first sanctioned Democratic Primary is set for South Carolina instead early next month, the President won easily in NH nonetheless. Thanks to an unofficial Write-In campaign, he garnered nearly 56% of the vote, with a whole bunch of Write-In ballots still to be hand processed as of airtime today. Biden's final vote share is likely to climb to 60% or above. MN Congressman Dean Phillips received just below 20% of the Democratic vote, while self-help guru Marianne Williamson came in at just below 5%.

On the GOP side, Haley offered what sounded like a victory speech Tuesday night, deriding Trump and as loser and vowing to continue the race through her home state of South Carolina and "dozens of states left to go". A furious Trump responded, as he does, with disjointed, angry remarks and thinly veiled, if evidence-free, threats regarding criminal investigations of his former U.N. Ambassador. "I don’t get too angry --- I get even," he promised.

What sense does any of this make? We're joined today by our very smart old pals HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and 'DRIFTGLASS' of The Professional Left Podcast for whatever analysis any of this may be worth. Among the many questions discussed on today's program...

  • What's the most important 2024 election news today? Results from the NH primary or the fact that Jon Stewart is coming back to The Daily Show in time for the 2024 elections?
  • What does Haley think she will accomplish by remaining in the race?
  • Is there any remaining chance that Trump won't actually become this year's GOP nominee?
  • Are media outlets such as CNN and MSNBC, who break away from lies told during Trump's victory speech, doing America a favor or a disservice?
  • While key establishment GOP donors have thrown support behind Haley, will they eventually come around to Trump anyway?
  • Is the Biden camp, which reportedly wanted the GOP race to be over after NH, wise in rushing toward a two-person race against Trump?
  • Would a conviction for Trump in any of his four felony indictments really dampen support for Trump among Republicans as recent polling suggests?
  • Why is Trump still tied with or beating Biden in a number of polls right now?

"It's mobster stuff," notes Driftglass about Trump's vague threats to Haley during his victory speech on Tuesday. "In an alternate universe," he contends, Haley might have been a good candidate for the GOP. But "the universe that we live in is one where Trump has a full-blown cult behind him." He adds a reminder to his "Never Trump friends that you built a Doomsday machine with no off-switch."

Parton joins Driftglass in arguing that Trump WILL now be the GOP nominee, unless he "falls face-first into the omelet bar at Mar-a-Lago." Other than that, she warns, "we're looking at a Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden campaign." The GOP donor class will "be there no matter what" for Trump, she observes, noting, "these guys are the zombies of the American political system and they're never going away." As to Haley, Parton adds: "If last night was any example of what Trump is going to do to her, it's about to get very, very ugly."

You mean it's not ugly yet?!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Haley notches small victory in Dixville, NH; 2020 mistallies in VA benefited Trump; Deadly, climate-fueled storms slam nation...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2024 4:12pm PT  

As noted on today's BradCast, CBS News' legendary radio and TV broadcaster Charles Osgood has passed away at age 91. Other than that, we've got some arguably much brighter news throughout the bulk of today's program. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered today...

  • Last night, just after midnight, Nikki Haley won every single vote cast in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the first town in the state to vote in the state's first-in-the-nation Primary on Tuesday. They had a 100% turnout. Haley won all 6 votes. Donald Trump won 0. We discuss why that matters (and doesn't). Voters across the entire state are voting today on hand-marked paper ballots. In Dixville Notch --- and about 40% of towns in the state --- ballots are publicly hand-counted by human beings after polls close. The rest of the towns, the larger ones in general, are tallied by 15 or 20-year old computerized optical scanners. Though, due to a write-in campaign for Joe Biden in the state, where there is no officially sanctioned Democratic primary, most of those towns will be hand-counting a lot of ballots as well. We'll have full reported results out of NH --- and why they matter (or don't) --- on tomorrow's show, of course.
  • For years, Republicans have been citing evidence of miscounted votes in Prince William County, Virginia as evidence of massive fraud in the 2020 Presidential race. The state's Republican A.G., after taking office in 2022, even filed criminal charges against the County's Registrar. Recently, however, the charges were unceremoniously dropped. And now we learn that, due to largely understandable tabulation errors, Joe Biden should have received 1,648 more votes than he was credited for, and that Donald Trump was given 2,327 votes that he shouldn't have, in a county that Biden won by more than 60,000 votes --- in a state where the Democrat won the Presidential race by some 450,000 votes. Races for U.S. Senate and U.S. House were also affected by the counting errors, though none of errors would reportedly have changed the results of any contest. We explain the whole mess.
  • We've got quite a bit of good news for you today when it comes to redistricting and rolling back GOP racial and partisan gerrymanders! In North Dakota, a federal judge has ordered new state legislative map after Republicans, following the 2020 Census, cracked two Native American reservations into different districts in order to flip both state House and Senate seats from D to R. It worked in 2022. But now, the judge has ordered not only new maps, but also new elections this fall in the districts found to have been in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Louisiana's new Republican Governor approved a new U.S. House map for the state this week, after the GOP state legislature finally adopted it last week, following a federal court order to draw an additional majority-Black voting district in the state. The Republican-controlled legislature previously had just 1 such district out of its 6 Congressional seats, despite African-Americans accounting for nearly a third of the statewide population. GOP lawmakers only agreed to do so after many appeals, and after realizing that if they didn't draw up their own maps, the court would do it for them. The new map will likely result in an additional Democratic member of Congress from the Bayou State next year.
  • And, in Wisconsin last week, voters filed a motion with the state's newly liberal-leaning Supreme Court seeking a new U.S. House map in time for the 2024 elections. Last month, the state's high court agreed with petitioners that the state GOP's state legislative maps for the Assembly and Senate, in place for more than a decade, were unlawful gerrymanders in violation of state Constitutional requirements. The new motion filed last week asks the same Supreme Court to order a new U.S. House map as well, on the same basis that the Justices determined the state legislative districts were unconstitutional. Petitioners argue that the unconstitutional and politically gerrymandered map resulted in Republicans winning 75% of the state’s Congressional seats despite winning just 50% of the statewide vote in the 2022 election. That year, the closely divided, if Dem-leaning Presidential battleground state also re-elected its Democratic Governor in the same statewide election.
  • Finally today, San Diego was deluged on Monday with a year's worth of rain in a matter of three hours, overwhelming infrastructure in the usually mild Southern California city. But, as discussed in our latest Green News Report today with Desi Doyen, it was just one of dozens of cities across the U.S. in recent weeks where infrastructure has been hammered by climate change-fueled extreme Winter weather. Nearly 100 have been killed in the recent storms in a number of states as of airtime. That, as Big Oil gears up a multi-million ad blitz to hoax Americans into supporting fossil fuel friendly candidates in 2024, as the unstoppable transition to clean, renewable energy is finally underway...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Catching up after conquering COVID (again!); Also: DeSantis drops out, 'kisses the ring'; SCOTUS sides with Biden on border (for now); Callers ring in for first time this year...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2024 6:12pm PT  

Okay. I'm back. COVID free! (Again!) Hopefully for good this time, as discussed --- along with many other things --- on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the news we begin to get caught up with today after my rebound sidelining last week...

  • My surprise COVID rebound last week and lessons learned in the bargain. If the news out of the federal courtroom in New York today in the second E. Jean Carroll defamation trial is to be believed, our disgraced former President may have his own new infection again soon.
  • After, just last week, condemning those Republicans who "kiss the ring" of Donald Trump in order to save themselves, Florida Governor and failed 2024 Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race on Sunday. And, yes, he kissed the ring in hopes of saving himself for 2028 by endorsing Donald Trump. DeSantis also used a fake quote from Winston Churchill when doing so, just so he could fail as spectacularly as possible on his way out the door.
  • New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary is Tuesday and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is the last GOPer left in the race other than the twice-impeached, four-time criminally indicted former President. If one believes the pre-primary polling, the race will be over by Wednesday. And the guy who was, literally, praising the idea of a "strongman running the country" during rallies in New Hampshire over the weekend, and telling supporters that U.S. Presidents must have complete immunity to commit any and all crimes, will be on a glide path toward becoming the 2024 Republican nominee for President of the United States.
  • While the DNC has not authorized a Democratic Primary in New Hampshire this year --- choosing instead to make South Carolina's February 3 contest the first official one for the Dems --- that hasn't stopped a write-in effort for Joe Biden in New Hampshire UNsanctioned Democratic Primary, in which Biden does not appear on the ballot. It has also resulted in what appears to be the first (known) dirty trick of 2024. NH voters began receiving robocalls over the weekend from "Joe Biden" instructing them not to vote at all on Tuesday. The incident is being investigated by law enforcement, but may give us an idea of what the abuse of Artificial Intelligence may have in store for us in this unprecedented 2024 election season.
  • On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court --- in a 5 to 4 ruling --- sided with the Biden Administration's Border Patrol and said that they may, in fact, remove razor-wire placed on the Rio Grande by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, after Abbott's actions have already resulted in the death of a mother and her two young children drowning in the river. But four Justices (Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) apparently have no use anymore for the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause which gives deference to federal law over state law.
  • Finally, after weeks away from our flagship station (KPFK in L.A.) over the holidays and then during our multiple brushes with COVID, we were finally live in studio again and able to open the phone lines today to listeners on anything they wanted to discuss. Even if one of them felt like they had to lie to get on the air to say it.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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About that 2024 GOP Caucus 'landslide'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/19/2024 10:35am PT  

The headline from Fox "News" typified what passes for "coverage" in right-wing media: "Trump wins massive victory in Iowa". That contrasts sharply with The BradCast's headline: "Trump Underwhelms in Iowa".

One core factor in analyzing the significance of either a Caucus or Primary Election is voter enthusiasm, as reflected by turnout.

Even when the especially harsh winter conditions are taken into consideration, the turnout for Iowa's 2024 Republican Caucuses must be regarded as dismal. The number of votes cast, 110,298 --- down from nearly 187,000 in 2016 --- represents less than 5.3% of Iowa's 2,083,979 registered voters.

The 56,260 ballots cast for Donald Trump represented a meager 7.8% of Iowa's 718,901 registered Republicans.

The 51% Trump received in the 2024 Iowa Caucus is only 3 points greater than the 48% Lyndon B. Johnson, a then incumbent President, received in the 1968 New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary. LBJ's opponent, Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-MN), received 42%. Johnson's narrow "win" in NH was followed by his decision to drop out of the race.

And while the 21,085 votes that third place finisher Nikki Haley received was also minuscule, any objective observer should not ignore a poll revealing that 43% of Halley Republican voters said that, if Trump became the nominee, they would vote for President Joseph R. Biden in the general election.

So which is it --- "massive victory" or "underwhelming"?

* * *
Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, and Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). He previously served as a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. Canning has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing

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Also: Our COVID rebound and more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2024 4:40pm PT  

Lucky me. I now have a rebound case of COVID. But with the first votes cast in the critical 2024 Presidential race in frozen Iowa on Monday night, I mustered as well as I could to bring you a fresh BradCast today. (No promises for tomorrow, however!) [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

With that in mind, I need to keep this short and get back to bed. Among our stories covered today...

  • Iowa's far-right GOP caucus-goers have a habit of backing losers. On Monday, a bare majority of them (51%) voted for Donald Trump in far below zero temps. Almost half of IA's GOP caucus-goers voted against him. But that was still more than enough to defeat the disgraced former President's splintered and woeful challengers. After burning about $150 million in his all or nothing quest to win Iowa, Ron DeSantis lost it. He came out with just 21.2% of the vote, narrowly edging out third-placer Nikki Haley, who still has a not-impossible-chance of defeating or, at least, challenging Trump in next week's first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary. She finished just behind DeSantis with 19.1% on Monday night in IA. Both challengers have vowed to move on to NH. Vivek Ramaswamy, however, who finished in a distance fourth in IA, quickly bowed out and endorsed Trump. That's about all you need to know about Monday night when it comes to the horse race. Beneath that, however, there is much more, underscoring this unprecedented moment for the nation and the need for an overwhelming majority of voters to step up and save American Democracy this year.
  • Meanwhile, down in Texas in recent days, 2028 Presidential hopeful, far-right Republican Governor Greg Abbott appears hoping to touch off a new civil war between his state's military and the federal government. In a multi-prong effort to goose his political fortunes by ensuring that immigration concerns will not be dealt with until a Republican President is in the White House (to get credit for it), and to further fuel his party's latest grift that, without a return to power for the GOP, a new "civil war" is looming, Abbott has deployed the Texas Military Dept. to the nation's Southern border. In doing so --- despite migration numbers recently plummeting thanks to high-level talks between the U.S. and Mexico --- Abbott has erected razor wire on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande and new steel fencing and gates to physically lock out U.S. Border Patrol from protecting miles of our national border. He has done so without permission of either the feds or local city governments. As the Biden Administration challenges Abbott's extra-Constitutional tin-pot authoritarianism at SCOTUS, a mother and her two young children died while attempting to cross the river over the weekend. TX troopers reportedly blocked federal officials from responding to a distress call from the Mexican government. As discussed, Republicans don't fear a new civil war. They want one. Or pretend to. And they certainly don't want to actually solve any issues at the border, else they'd have nothing to run on this November.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with new numbers from 2023's record heat and climate disasters; as Republican climate crisis denial continues on the campaign trail on behalf of fossil fuel industry funders (with increasingly deadly results); and as the Biden Administration moves ahead with rules to force polluting oil and gas companies to finally pay their fair share in return...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity' argument at D.C. Court of Appeals...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2024 6:19pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, we continue our COVID recovery, revisit some of the Biden v. Trump horseraces that sent so many Dems scurrying under their bed sheets late last year, and try to make sense of the disgraced former President's ridiculous argument (his attempt to delay his Jan. 6 criminal trial until after this year's election) at the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. on Tuesday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories cited and/or referenced today...

  • New CNN/University of New Hampshire polling finds Nikki Haley within single digits of Donald Trump in New Hampshire with the first-in-the-nation primary now just two weeks away. Their polling is not the only one showing Haley within spitting distance.
  • USA Today buries the lede in their coverage of a new USA Today/Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll finding Joe Biden seven points ahead of Trump in a general election match-up in New Hampshire and reveals that "American democracy" is the issue that both Dems and independent voters are most concerned about this year.
  • Donald Trump and his attorney apparently believe that a U.S. President may lawfully order Seal Team 6 to assassinate an American political rival. Seriously, the question was raised on Tuesday by one of the three judges on the D.C. appeals court panel tapped to hear Trump's claims of "absolute immunity" for crimes committed while serving as President. Can he sell pardons? Can he accept bribes? Sell nuclear secrets? According to Trump's attorney, sure he can! As long as he is not impeached and convicted first. Trump's other appeal argument, that being "acquitted" by the U.S. Senate at his second impeachment trial (when a majority of bipartisan Senators found him guilty of inciting an insurrection), somehow renders him immune from criminal prosecution in the judicial system because that would be unconstitutional "double jeopardy". As one of the three judges pointed out, Trump's own attorneys during the impeachment argued exactly the contrary. "It's in the Congressional Record," she said. It's all as absurd as it sounds. But, in fact, it is simply meant as a way to push Trump's March 4 trial date in his federal indictment for attempting to steal the 2020 election back past the 2024 election, when he hopes to win and make all of his many indictments go away. The three judges on the D.C. panel, however, didn't seem to be buying any of it.
  • Finally, as deadly winter weather whiplashes much of the nation today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with bad news for the snow crab season in Alaska and good news, thanks to the Joe Biden Administration, for American school buses...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Dan Froomkin of Press Watch; Also: Dems win, outperform in PA, NH special elections; PA Guv begins automatic voter registration...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2023 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Given the disastrous chaos of The Former Guy's previous term in office and the 91 criminal felony charges he is now facing in four different jurisdictions, it seems impossible to fathom that he'd be, essentially, tied in 2024 polling against one of the most effective President's in U.S. history. There's a number of reasons for that. Few of them are the ones the disinformed MAGA knuckleheads have been hoaxed into buying into. But one of the big reasons, according to our guest today, is years of unrelenting failure by the U.S. media. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up today, however, some encouraging news out of special elections held on Tuesday for state legislatures in two critical swing-states, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. In both cases the Democratic candidate won. In NH, Hal Rafter flipped a seat in the state House previously held by a Republican, putting Dems just one seat shy of evenly splitting control with the GOP in a state where Republicans have held a governing trifecta for several years.

In PA, Democrat Lindsay Powell easily won a safely "blue" seat in Pittsburgh. But, in both cases, Democrats continued to massively outperformed their 2020 numbers in the very same districts, continuing the party's winning streak during special elections since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

The outlook may be brighter still for democracy fans in Pennsylvania next year, as newly elected Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro announced, on Tuesday, a program to begin automatic voter registration at the Dept of Transportation offices this week whenever residents show up for a new or renewed drivers license or ID. The battleground state has an estimated 1.6 million eligible but unregistered voters and Shapiro's pro-democracy program, supported by his own, hand-picked Republican Sec. of State, is long overdue in the Keystone State. Anti-democracy, pro-authoritarian Republicans in the state legislature, of course, are furious about it. They believe the more they can restrict access to the polls, the better they will perform.

Increased participation is always a healthy thing for democracy. But, ironically enough, American journalists are likely to be very careful about reporting that fact for fear of being tagged as appearing "partisan". That, even though automatic voter registration is equally applied to potential voters of any (or no) political party. But, as increased turnout is perceived as good for Democrats, many journalists are cowed into pulling punches when covering such issues.

Of course, it's that sort of failure by U.S. corporate media that results in absurdly "tied" pre-election polling for the 2024 Presidential election, and in other polls like the one we covered on yesterday's program finding Americans split 50/50 on whether the evidence-free Republican impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden is based on legitimate evidence or is politically motivated.

We're joined today by longtime journalist and media critic DAN FROOMKIN, who wrote the popular online "White House Watch" column for years at Washington Post before moving to Huff Post and then The Intercept before establishing his nonprofit Press Watch newsletter.

Last last month, Froomkin penned an important piece headlined "A desperate appeal to newsroom leaders on the eve of a chaos election". He explained that he was hoping to reach newsroom execs in advance of "another potentially cataclysmic election in 2024 --- arguably the most perilous in American history." Despite the previously unimaginable events of the last nearly ten years, wrote Froomkin, corporate media outlets "continue to engage in the same business-as-usual that got us here in the first place."

In hopes of reaching some of those newsroom leaders before it's too late, Froomkin spoke with several dozen journalists, media critics, academics and historians on what America's newsrooms can and should change in their approach to political coverage in advance of next year's critical elections.

We discuss a number of those expert responses today on everything from the necessity of picking "the right frame" in reporting on democracy rather than the "horse-race"; on "not the odds but the stakes" in next year's race; the need for journalists, not politicians, to "set the agenda" during interviews; the "importance of context" in reporting on the contest in a way that informs the public beyond a simple "left versus right" lens; "what not to do" and how the press needs to stand up for itself, and for journalism as a whole, against attacks from the increasingly authoritarian right.

None of this, in fact, is a partisan matter. Though the Republican Party, over the years --- even before the rise of Donald Trump --- has successfully cowed American news outlets into behaving as if it is, and subsequently pulling punches to the ultimate benefit of the GOP, even as democracy itself has become increasingly endangered by media dysfunction and disinformation.

Today, Froomkin cites Trump's victory in 2016 as the moment when the corporate media should have realized how dangerous their failures had become. But, he argues, "they didn't really change. Fundamentally, they're still adopting rightwing frames, they're still not rebutting misinformation with the enthusiasm that they should. They're still doing the horse-race journalism which allows them to be gamed by politicians, especially on the right."

"The press has a blind eye towards Biden's successes and is focused instead on whatever the Republicans are talking about, which is impeachment and Hunter Biden these days," he tells me, even as the GOP can't even agree amongst itself on a spending package to keep the entire federal government open and operating past next week. "There's massive dysfunction on the right, and unfortunately the media feels like when it reports that, it's being biased, it's being liberal. And if, God forbid, it should write anything nice about Biden, then it would definitely be accused of being liberal."

Please tune in for our conversation today and --- as importantly --- I hope some in the media (especially in the executive suites) do as well. By the way, Froomkin has a great idea for the misbegotten CNN and how they could, if they were smart under their new CEO, "become the anti-Fox/pro-truth network".

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Election officials grapple with Trump's Constitutional ballot disqualification; Also: Proud Boy boss gets 22 years for 1/6; Courts order lawless AL, FL to restore Black-majority U.S. House Districts...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2023 6:24pm PT  

We're back! Both on today's BradCast and even in L.A., after fleeing the state last month to avoid weeks of construction on the roof of the apartment housing our home studio. To no one's surprise, the work is taking longer than we were told, so please pardon our efforts this week to work around it as best as possible after taking last week off to both avoid it and to enjoy the last days of Summer 2023 before the 2024 fight for Democracy (represented this year by Democrats) and Autocracy (represented by a lawless Republican party) begins in earnest.

Among our stories today...

  • Enrique Tarrio, former head of the far-right Proud Boys gang was sentenced to 22 year in federal prison on Tuesday following his conviction for Seditious Conspiracy for his role in the January 6th, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection. It's the longest sentence for any of the MAGA insurrectionists to date. Also, of note, Tarrio wasn't even in Washington D.C. that day. Point taken: One didn't need to be personally smashing windows and storming the Capitol to be held to serious account for what happened that day. Got it. Hopefully other jurors in other upcoming related cases will get it as well.
  • The federal Courts are still holding. Mostly. For now. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel found that Alabama Republicans blatantly defied an order from the U.S. Supreme Court to add another Black-majority district to their U.S. House map. The SCOTUS order to do so --- after finding the state violated both the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act with their racially gerrymandered districts --- came in Allen v. Milligan [PDF] in early June. Alabama didn't care. In an unprecedented move, they gave the finger to the Court and drew up a new map with the very same deficiencies featuring just one Black-majority district out of seven, in a state where some 27% of residents are Black. The federal court panel has now assigned a Special Master to draw U.S. House districts for the state, after a lawless Gov. Kay Ivey joined with lawless legislators in the gerrymandered statehouse to defy SCOTUS, the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution. Alabama is now appealing the ruling to the same U.S. Supreme Court Justices who rejected their arguments barely three months ago.
  • The story is similar in authoritarian Governor and Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis' lawless state of Florida this weekend. In this case, a state court judge on Saturday ordered the state legislature to draw a new U.S. House map restoring a Black-majority district in Northern Florida that DeSantis had personally ordered state lawmakers to break into pieces and divvy up its Black voters into White Republican districts. The weekend's court order would seem to be good news. However, the State will now appeal the ruling directly to its Supreme Court where DeSantis has hand-picked a majority of the Justices. As we have long been warning, the fight between Democracy and Autocracy (or Fascism, as one of our longtime listeners insists), continues into 2024.
  • Next, I finally catch up with a bunch of news on a growing story --- some of which we've been discussing over the past two years --- that I've otherwise been trying to get to for weeks, but for all of the various indictments, hurricanes, wildfires, debates, etc. continually sidetracking me. The news has to do with the continuing feeling I have that Donald Trump will ultimately not be on the ballot come next November. As noted, that's not a prediction or an inside scoop. It's simply a feeling for now, but one that I can't shake as an increasingly swelling body of evidence seems to support its possibility.

    Today, that evidence includes polling last month finding nearly two-thirds of Americans say they will either "definitely" (53%) or "probably" (11%) not support Trump in 2024. Might such numbers begin to grab the notice of Republican Primary voters? (So far, the answer is largely no. But we've got a long way to go --- and a lot of criminal trials --- before the GOP's nominating convention next July.) There are already a number of high profile Republicans calling on Trump to drop out of the race or noting that he very well may be Constitutionally disqualified entirely from the ballot.

    It is that part of this story today --- disqualification from the ballot via Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for his role in the January 6 Insurrection --- that we focus on today. Namely, the far-right, Federalist Society legal scholars who recently issued a 126-page law review paper [PDF] finding Trump to be Constitutionally ineligible for the ballot --- "cannot be president --- cannot run for president, cannot become president, cannot hold office" --- due to his roll in the January 6 insurrection.

    And now, there is a host of state Secretaries of State --- both Republican and Democratic --- around the country who are currently or soon to be grappling with the decision as to whether Trump is even eligible to be on their state ballots in 2024.

    Among those Secretary of State's discussed today, after they recently offered various opinions on the matter: New Hampshire's David Scanlan (R); Ohio's Frank LaRose (R); Arizona's Adrian Fontes (D), New Mexico's Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D); Maine's Shenna Bellows (D) and Michigan's Jocelyn Benson (D). (Benson gets credit for the first part of today's headline. REO Speedwagon gets credit for the alternate hed.)

    I welcome your feelings on this matter as well. Feel free to drop me an email or a note in comments and perhaps I'll share it on air in the days ahead.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen is back as well, of course, with our latest Green News Report, catching up with a bunch of stuff we missed while we were out, and as the Summer of Climate Disasters turns to...well, most likely the Autumn of Climate Disasters...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: New 2024 Presidential candidates; Accountability arriving for corrupt TX A.G. Paxton, conman James O'Keefe; Callers ring in on the debt deal...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2023 5:54pm PT  

We're back! And with good news on today's BradCast...whether the media have been reporting it that way over the past week, as we've been on a break, or not. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP, some notable quick news headlines today --- and some from last week --- which we'll undoubtedly jump deeper into in the days and weeks ahead. Including...

  • Cartoonishly corrupt Republican Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, is impeached by the hard-right Texas legislature.
  • Cartoonishly corrupt Republican activist and pretend journalist James O'Keefe is sued by Project Veritas --- his own ironically named nonprofit --- for waste, fraud and abuse.
  • A bunch of new Republicans entered the fray for the 2024 Presidential nod (the unhung Mike Pence, the disgraced Chris Christie and some guy named Doug Burgum).
  • One Republican, popular New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, smartly announces he's not running.
  • And progressive activist and academic Cornel West announces he's running for President under a third-party banner.

THEN, its on to the one story that made me wish I wasn't on vacation last week (well, a little, anyway.) And that's the story of President Biden outfoxing the GOP to take three Republican-engineered fiscal cliffs off the table over the next two years, all for the price of less than one, in his ingenious debt ceiling deal with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy...who got hosed in the bargain.

As you may know, we were all in favor of Biden avoiding negotiations entirely, invoking the 14th Amendment to declare the dumb Debt Ceiling law unconstitutional, and ordering the Treasury Department to simply pay our bills without disruption to avoid a first-ever U.S. default. If anyone had a prob with that, they could sue him --- or try to --- in order to force the global economy meltdown that would have come with such a default.

But Biden, and his lead negotiator, Steve Richetti, came up with a much better idea. In the bargain, they took not one, not two, but three GOP fiscal cliffs off the table for the price of less than one budget negotiation this fall. And it all would have been much more difficult if Biden had taken the leverage of invoking the 14th off the table.

In short (much more detail on today's show), the President outfoxed Republicans. Bigly. And where they had demanded some 18% in cuts to government spending, they got a measly 0.2% over the next ten years. In the bargain, the Debt Ceiling is suspended until 2025 and spending will largely stay flat over the next two years on a few non-defense matters.

Make no mistake. There are some cuts in the deal that suck. But nothing more than Biden would have been forced to give away anyway in order to avoid a protracted Government shutdown with obstructionist Republicans when a new budget would be needed at the beginning of the next fiscal year this October.

As British columnist Will Hutton correctly opined on Sunday, while "It is easy to write off President Joe Biden as a senile, 80-year-old duffer," the deal was "massively weighted in his favour" and represented an "extraordinary victory".

It's a shame that so many in the U.S. media --- on the Right, Left and Other --- seem incapable of reporting it that way, in order to properly educate the American electorate about what actually just happened.

We try to balance the scales a bit on that score on today's program before opening the phones to callers in the second half of the show to hear why they believe we might be wrong about all of this. (SPOILER ALERT: We're not!)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Nuclear weapons policy analyst Stephen Schwartz; Also: Dems outperform in NH, VA, KY special elections, set table to retake Supreme Court majority in WI...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2023 6:54pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: It was a good day for democracy in the U.S. yesterday, in our continuing battle against the rise of autocracy here at home. The news overseas on that same score, however, thanks to Russia's criminal, autocratic leader, remains significantly dicier. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

FIRST UP TODAY: It was the first big Special Election night of 2023 in the U.S. on Tuesday. As we saw in advance of last year's 2022 midterms --- when Republicans ignored the evidence before their eyes to hoax themselves into believing a "red wave" was coming (which never did) --- Democrats are once again outperforming expectations in Special Elections around the nation.

We've got results, some of them quite stunning, out of marquee races yesterday in New Hampshire for state House, Virginia for the U.S. House, and in Kentucky for State Senate. In each, Democrats radically outperformed both expectations and history, often by 10 or more points.

But, the most critical race of the night may have been the primary election in Wisconsin, where a vacant swing-seat on the state Supreme Court may finally flip the majority to progressives in the upcoming April 4 general election after years of control by rightwingers. Tuesday's open primary featured two progressives and two so-called conservatives, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general. Progressive Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz easily bested the competition with some 46% of the vote. The two rightwingers, former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly and Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow, came in a tight second and third place, with 24% and 22% each, respectively, followed by progressive Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell with 7%.

That means Protasiewicz and Kelly, state Democrats' preferred competition, will square off on April 4. Kelly is a radical, rightwing extremist, election denier, marriage equality opponent, and paid RNC consultant who helped organize Donald Trump's fake 2020 electors scheme in the state. He also lost a previous Supreme Court race in the closely divided swing-state by a whopping 10 points in 2020. In a state where Dems now hold almost every statewide executive position, Republicans are forced to cling to majorities in the state legislature thanks to wildly gerrymandered districts. A progressive majority on the bench, therefore, is expected to be critical over the next few years regarding abortion rights, gun safety, gerrymandering and much more, including voting rights in advance of the 2024 Presidential election.

If voters turnout and vote in April as they did last night, Protasiewicz would defeat Kelly by about 7 points. Of course, its Wisconsin, so I'd be careful about counting chickens before counting ballots just over one month from now.

NEXT UP: Russian President Vladimir Putin's nuclear saber rattling continued on Tuesday during his state of the nation speech. The autocrat announced a unilateral suspension of participation in New START, the last remaining arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia.

There is a great deal to unpack in all of this, including what Obama-era New START was supposed to do; how the U.S., under Donald Trump, also pulled out unilaterally from a different pact (the Reagan/Gorbachev-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces or INF Treaty); what "suspension" of New START actually means; and how the announcement appears to be yet another desperate attempt by Putin to coerce his way into somehow winning a war of aggression that he appears to be losing in Ukraine, as Russia's unlawful invasion sees its one-year anniversary this week.

To help with all of that today, we're joined by longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ who formerly served as Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. They are the groups who control the notorious "Doomsday Clock". Schwartz, who tweets as @AtomicAnalyst, is also the author of Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940.

"There is no provision in the [New START] treaty for 'suspending' the treaty. You're either in it or not," explains Schwartz. "The suspension is, I guess, a wily way for Putin to get what he wants. Which is, I think, frankly, just an extension of what he's been doing over the last year. This is a nuclear threat by another name."

"It's an effort to frighten the public in the United States, NATO, and Ukraine, into letting let him basically blackmail those countries into letting him do whatever he wants with Ukraine. So he's got this bludgeon --- and it's really the only tool that he has right now --- and he's waving it around until his demands are satisfied."

It doesn't appear to be working. President Joe Biden spoke in Poland yesterday, following a surprise appearance with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday. "We’re seeing again today what the people of Poland and the people all across Europe saw for decades: Appetites of the autocrat cannot be appeased," declared Biden to cheers in Warsaw. "They must be opposed."

While taking Putin seriously, Schwartz also sees a larger principle at stake. "The way I see it, and I'm no big fan of war at all, is if we just listen to Putin and say 'You're right, we can't risk nuclear war so we're going to stand back and let you carve up Ukraine however you want. And, hey, if you want to take Belarus and Moldova, who are we to stop you?,' I think that would be a terrible precedent for the rest of the world. Not only with regard to what Russia might do in the future, but other countries that have nuclear weapons or might want them."

"The Biden Administration and NATO have been very careful. If you look at every time Putin has done one of these things, the United States doesn't dismiss it and doesn't panic. They walk down the middle and I think that is the right approach here. We need to show that nuclear weapons are fundamentally useless, not just for prosecuting a war, but also for blackmail."

"We need to isolate Putin in this regard," argues Schwartz. "Otherwise, the future world that we're going to live in, brought to you by nuclear coercion, is going to be far worse than anything we dealt with during the Cold War."

Among the many related matters Schwartz speaks to today: Russia's violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which Ukraine was guaranteed security and sovereignty after the fall of the Soviet Union in exchange for turning over all nuclear weapons to Russia; The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' recent move of the Doomsday Clock to "90 Seconds to Midnight," the closest it has ever been to proverbial "Midnight". Is the world really closer to "Doomsday" now than it was at the height of the Cold War? We discuss all of that and much more on today's very informative program...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Conventional wisdom and corporate media proven wrong. Again.; Also: Big midterm wins, losses, surprises as voters hold the line for democracy, Congressional majorities remain up in the air...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2022 6:17pm PT  

Republicans and corporate media appeared to be shocked on Tuesday night. But it looks like we had it right all along on BradCast regarding this year's midterm elections. And, once again, the corporate media didn't. But, good news for them! As usual, they'll pay no price for being wrong, no matter how many times they ill-serve the nation with their failures. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

There was no "red" wave. Conventional wisdom, as we've been advising since early Spring, was to be ignored before this year's midterms in these decidedly UNconventional times. If we could see that data --- sometimes via polling from some of the very same media outlets --- why couldn't the corporate media? Maybe its group think. Maybe its because whatever Republicans tell them they believe to be the truth, or simply report it as such.

In any event, while there was no "red" wave, it is still quite possible that Republicans win majorities in both the U.S. House and the Senate --- if just barely in each case. And while Dems, as we go to air today, have an apparent edge to hold on to their Senate majority, it'll almost certainly require another win in another U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia next month to nail it down. There even remains a long-shot chance that Dems can keep a majority in the House as well, and that, as we explained yesterday, it all may come down to the effect of unusually large downpours on Tuesday's Election Day in both Northern and Southern California.

Either way, for the moment, American democracy, while still on life support, has lived to see another day. For now. In similarly encouraging news, our previous President may even finally face some accountability from his own infuriated party. They were deprived of what should have been a huge and easy win on Tuesday, but for the rightwing loons that Donald Trump helped push into the Party and onto ballots across the nation. Many of them, if not all, lost bigly.

On today's program, we discuss all of the above and, based on what we know as of airtime, run through a ton of critical victories and losses --- including both inspiring surprise wins and several disappointments --- in dozens of states, at both the state and federal level.

As of yesterday's election, anyway, American voters (including many young ones, thankfully!) appear to have held the line for democracy. It is not dead yet. For that, I hope you'll take a minute or two to breathe a small sigh of relief. But not too many minutes. The good fight ain't over yet. Not by a long shot...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Ernest A. Canning on that and CA's big step toward socialized medications; Also: Trump's election theft effort on GA prosecutor's mind; GOP Senate nom no longer an election denier (now that he won the nomination); Patagonia gives away the company to save the planet...
By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2022 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The story of why Americans are still paying the health care price (in both blood and treasure) in 2022 for "free market champion" Ronald Reagan's 1987 Executive Order that gave away the tax-payer store to Big Pharma. Plus, a bunch of other somewhat happier stories. [Audio link to full story is posted below this summary.]

First up today, an update in the still-broadening criminal conspiracy probe by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis into Donald Trump's many faceted and failed efforts to steal the 2020 Presidential election in Georgia. With 17 known "targets" in the probe so far, including Rudy Giuliani and 16 fake Trump electors, the prosecutor tells Washington Post in an exclusive interview that there will be more "targets" announced soon and that she believes some are likely "facing prison sentences." She has yet to decide if the former President will be among them, though, with dozens of witnesses who have already been subpoenaed and testified to her Special Grand Jury in Atlanta, Willis says the Grand Jury should wrap up by year's end. A decision whether to call Trump in to testify --- or declare him a target --- is likely "to be made late this fall," she says.

Next, now that far-right retired Brigadier General and dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy theorist Don Bolduc won the GOP nomination in New Hampshire this week to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan this November, he's...um...re-evaluating some of his previous positions. During a primary debate with fellow GOP candidates before the primary, he proudly denied Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election. "I signed a letter with 120 other Generals and Admirals saying that Trump won the election and, dammit, I stand by my words!," Bolduc bravely declared to cheers from Party faithful. When asked about his position this week on Fox "News," however, after winning the GOP nomination, Bolduc hemmed and hawed his newly discovered belief after "a lot of research on this", finding the 2020 "election was not stolen" and that "President Biden is the legitimate President of this country." Granite Staters will undoubtedly fall for his pretend new "moderate" line, right?

Then, newly reformulated COVID vaccine booster shots from both Pfizer and Moderna, designed to combat both the classic coronavirus and several newer Omicron variants, are now available to the general public in the U.S. The White House and CDC are recommending Americans get the new shot by Halloween to lessen the chance of infection --- or killing your grandmother --- over Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays when a new surge is expected. (They also recommend getting a flu shot at the same time.)

But why are new COVID vaccines even necessary more than two years into the pandemic? One reason is thanks to the fact that, despite tens of billions of tax-payer dollars given by the federal government to private companies for the development of the life-saving vaccines, the private pharmaceutical giants who make them refuse to give up their patent and intellectual property rights to make the vaccines available to the world. That means new variants continue to emerge, leading to more infections and the need for updated vaccines and, yes, more profit for Big Pharma. It's a pretty nice deal...for them.

So, how did we get here? We're joined today by ERNEST A. CANNING, longtime legal analyst at The BRAD BLOG, who recently took a deep dive into a 1987 Executive Order by Ronald Reagan that gifted patents and profits that go with them to huge, for-profit pharmaceutical companies that used tax-payer dollars to develop their inventions. That, from the Republican idol who, ironically, once declared: "We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down."

The pharmaceutical industry may disagree, even if they won't say so out-loud. "No matter how big a company and how much money was poured in by federal government for research and development, the patent would belong to the giant company," Canning explains. "We've been paying, just in general research, about $28 billion in pharmaceutical R&D every year." Given the "value of those patents," he notes, "we're talking trillions of dollars in a gift, not just tens of billions."

He also explains how all of this came about (beginning with Jimmy Carter) and why its now so difficult for Joe Biden to merely repeal Reagan's Executive Order in regard to the COVID vaccines.

But Canning also offers some brighter news related to patent abuse by Big Pharma, which he also recently wrote about at The BRAD BLOG. In a landmark initiative, the state of California is now fighting back. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced the state will begin manufacturing insulin and will make the hundred-year old drug available for just slightly more than it costs to produce. Canning explains why that has become necessary as Big Pharma takes advantage of loopholes in Intellectual Property laws to bilk diabetics with outrageous prices for the inexpensive, life-saving medicine.

Finally, a private company that is --- shockingly enough --- apparently doing the right thing for the country and the world. (What?!) The family that owns outdoor gear brand Patagonia, headed up by its 83-year old founder, announced this week that they will be "making Earth our only shareholder". While the company will remain a for-profit entity, currently valued at around $3 billion, it will now begin giving away all profits --- about $100 million a year --- to two newly created entities, a trust and a non-profit, both devoted to combating our climate crisis.

(Any chance we can coax Patagonia into the pharmaceutical business while we're at it?!)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson; Also: Rail worker strike looms; Noteworthy primary results from DE, RI, NH...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2022 6:32pm PT  

We've got a lot of news, both good and not as good, for labor on today's BradCast. Also, some results of some pretty crazy primary contests on Tuesday from the final three states to hold primary elections this year before November's critical midterms. [Audio link to full show is posted after this summary.]

First up, those primary results in Delaware, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. After a couple of races in DE and RI, we hit the most notable on the night, coming out of the Granite State, where Republican voters have elected another hard-right, conspiracy theorist and election denying loon as their nominee in a U.S. Senate race they might have been able to easily win this fall with a non-insane candidate. Instead, retired Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc --- who wants to abolish the FBI and the 17th Amendment (the direct election of U.S. Senators) and has described the state's popular, relatively moderate Republican Governor Chris Sununu as "a Chinese communist sympathizer” --- will now take on New Hampshire's incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in November.

Two hard-right Trumpers also won the GOP nominations for the NH's two U.S. House Seats, each currently held by Democrats. We take a bit of time today to focus on Karoline Leavitt, the apparent winner of the Republican nod in the NH's 1st Congressional District, where she will fake Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas after winning her upset victory against establishment-preferred Trumper Matt Mowers. The 25-year old Leavitt (who, mark my words, will be a new GOP star whether she wins or loses), previously worked in the Trump White House and has clearly taken on the hard-right mantle and obnoxious manner of her former boss. That resulted in an extraordinarily ugly primary battle between her and fellow Trump Administration colleague Mowers for the nomination and the title of who was the Trumpiest of them all. In both the Senate and House GOP primaries, the candidates preferred (and heavily invested in) by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy lost. Democrats are likely just fine with the results.

Then, railroad workers appear to be ready to go on strike as of 12:01am on Friday, over the horrific working conditions they have been required to endure for years. We detail some of those terrible conditions in advance of what could be a wildly disruptive and expensive work stoppage in advance of the midterm elections, with some 57,000 workers now set to strike barring a breakthrough.

Next, we're joined for some significantly more positive labor news today by The American Prospect's longtime Editor-at-Large, HAROLD MEYERSON to discuss what he describes as a "groundbreaking" new labor law in California to improve the wages and working conditions of some 550,000 fast-food workers in the state. The measure was signed last week, on Labor Day, by the state's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

In addition to setting a $22/hour minimum wage for the state's half-million fast-food workers (adjusted annually to keep up with the consumer price index), AB 257 also mandates the creation of a 10-person Council to oversee working conditions in the sector statewide. The Council, as Meyerson reported recently at The Prospect, would include "two representatives of franchise owners, two from the corporate chains, two fast-food workers, two fast-food 'advocates' (likely SEIU), and two who are the governor’s appointees to head labor-related state agencies."

"It's been really groundbreaking," Meyers explains today, "There's been nothing like it, really, in American history. It sets up what's called sectoral bargaining, in which representatives of workers in an entire industry sit down with representatives of management in the industry, and in this case, with a couple of state officials, as well. And they set standards for the industry...to craft wage and benefit and workplace safety and other standards for every worker in a chain fast-food outlet in California that has at least 100 outlets nationwide. So McDonalds, Jack in the Box, Starbucks, you name it."

That is a huge victory for labor groups like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and is likely to bring positive change for workers faster than otherwise unionizing hundreds of Taco Bell shops, one at a time.

Along with a helpful dose of American Labor history, Meyerson details how "sectoral bargaining is actually fairly common in Western Europe [where] it evolved on top of a much higher level of unionization of their workers than we have here in the United States." For now, however, as the SEIU has been fighting for a decade to unionize fast-food shops and establish a $15 minimum wage for their workers, the CA state effort is indeed both progressive and ground-breaking.

Of course, that means that an effort is already under way by the franchise industry and other wealthy business interests to shut the whole thing down. If the anti-worker forces in the state can collect enough signatures in the next several months, they can prevent the measure from going into full effect until voters decide on it via a 2024 ballot initiative. Otherwise, as Meyerson explains, "the law goes into effect. They can always then put an initiative on the ballot [in 2024 anyway], but at that point they would effectively be demanding a wage cut for half a million workers and their families."

All of this comes as a new Gallup survey found that, as of Labor Day, support for unions was at 71% among Americans, a nearly 60-year high. That, paradoxically, as just 6% of workers are currently in private unions. Yet, approval for labor unions hasn't been this high since 1965. Interestingly, when Gallup began their annual survey in 1936, amid the Great Depression, approval for labor unions was only one point higher, at 72%.

Lots to digest, I suspect, on today's BradCast. Buckle up...

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Tiny Delaware's huge mistake; Graham's nationwide abortion ban bill; Also: Franken on the illegitimacy of our U.S. Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 9/13/2022 6:18pm PT  

The three states carrying out the final midterm primary elections of the year on Tuesday offer a great side-by-side comparison of voting systems on today's BradCast, from the very best to the very worst in the nation. Also, Sen. Lindsey Graham offers an example of the GOP's very worst politics, even as it is likely to work out for the very best for Democrats. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered on today's program...

  • Why Delaware's so-called "hybrid" Ballot Marking Device (BMD) system made by ES&S and forced on all voters in the state at the polls, places the tiny state in contention for having the very worst voting systems in the country. You'd think they would realize that a 100% unverifiable touchscreen system that prints voters' selections on a paper ballot for them is already a terrible idea. But one that allows the computer to secretly reprint a voter's ballot --- allowing it to add, change or delete votes --- after voters think they've already approved their computer-marked ballot, is unspeakable stupid. That said, the system's "Permission to Cheat" feature is arguably even worse.
  • Contrast DE's voting system with New Hampshire and Rhode Island's fully verifiable hand-marked paper ballot system. They, along with DE are also holding primaries today. But in about 40% of NH towns, they go even further in respecting voters by hand-counting all hand-marked paper ballots at the polling place, in public, as soon as polls close and before ballots are moved anywhere. That would be Democracy's Gold Standard. RI, in the meantime, tallies all ballots by computer, but at least (unlike in DE), they're hand-marked ballots, so can be known to reflect the intent of the voters. Well, most of them, anyway. As discovered during the early voting period in four towns, candidates from 2018 appeared on the 2022 touchscreen ballots for some voters who chose to use the state's new BMD systems, made available at the polls for optional use by disabled voters.
  • Next, a follow-up to our conversation last week with Marilyn Marks, Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance, which is suing Georgia and its Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, hoping to ban the state's 100% unverifiable touchscreen BMD voting systems in favor of hand-marked paper ballots. Marks was on the show to discuss the security camera surveillance video she unearthed in her federal lawsuit last week, revealing a bunch of Team Trump MAGA Republicans being allowed in to the Coffee County, GA election office last year to unlawfully breach the state's Election Management System software made by Dominion. The breach, as we discussed, was covered-up by Raffensperger, even though the Trumpers copied, stole and shared the critical software with others. That makes the 2022 and 2024 elections in the state (and elsewhere, where the same systems are used) uniquely vulnerable to malware and manipulation, given that Coffee County's system is connected to the state system, which programs all of the identical systems that Raffensperger forces every county in the state to use.

    Shortly after Marks' appearance on the show last week, a hearing was held in her federal lawsuit, and the judge inquired as to how the Coffee County breach relates to the plaintiffs' complaint. One of their attorneys, David Cross, gave a brilliant explanation in response (see transcript here, beginning on page 4), ending his remarks on the matter with a fantastic metaphor: "If we're going on a skydiving trip and we saw a bunch of bad actors unpack our parachutes, take them all apart, and then repack them and put them back and we learned that when we were on an airplane and if the pilot said to you, it is probably fine, your parachute is probably fine, just go ahead and jump and we'll find out when you're in the air, no one would jump out of that plane.

    "That is where we are," Cross added. "It is not an exaggeration. We have lots of people who are widely considered bad actors because of the lies that they spread about the 2020 election who had unmitigated access to the election system --- not pieces, not disconnected pieces --- the actual system in practice for the better part of two weeks. And we don't know what all they did. But we do know what they could have done. And it is not satisfactory to tell voters, 'Let's just hope the system works, and we have begun an investigation in the last couple of weeks, let's hope that that doesn't find that the system doesn't work.' That, Your Honor, we don't think is an appropriate way to proceed. And that is why this is so critically important for our claims."

  • In what ought to win an award for worst, most tin-ear politics of the century, so far, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a bill today to ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy in all 50 states. States that wish to go further, however, by banning abortions all together, are more than welcome to do so under his nationwide bill. So, this measure --- deceptively being sold by Graham as a "late-term" abortion --- would largely only affect "blue" states where privacy rights and reproductive freedoms are still respected. The bill, which Graham's own Republican Party is already furious about, comes after the GOP's corrupted, stolen and packed (with Graham's help) U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June and just weeks after Graham previously said he believes "states should decide the issue of abortion." Turns out that was just another pathetic lie from one of the nation's most pathetic U.S. Senators.
  • Speaking of the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court (and tin-ears), Chief Justice John Roberts offered his first public remarks last Friday since his Court overturned Roe. He blasted those who question the legitimacy of the Court because they disagree with its decisions. "Simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for criticizing the legitimacy of the Court," the Chief Justice said, completely missing the point. Over the weekend, the much-missed former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) appeared on CNN to debate Roberts' remarks with GOP strategist April Stewart. As you'll hear, it did not go well for Stewart.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as a hurricane finally ends California's record heat wave; reactors are finally shut down at Ukraine's besieged nuclear power plant; a showdown finally looms in Congress over energy permitting; and a climate champion finally ascends to become King of Britain...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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